As per the recent government announcement, considerable relaxations have been provided to IT and ITeS companies even in the Red Zones. Commercial and private establishments that have been allowed in the Red Zones include print and electronic media, IT and IT-enabled services, data and call centres, and so on as long as they strictly follow the required Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of social distancing.
Amid the COVID19 Pandemic positive cases growth in India, Govt. has allowed 33 per cent workforce in private offices including the IT and IT-enabled companies in red zones and orange zones. Similar is the case with Government offices in red zones will be allowed to function with senior officers of the Deputy Secretary level and above at full strength, with the remaining staff attending up to 33 per cent as per requirement.
Many of the industry pundits and political figures have expressed their viewpoints that we have to live with Coronavirus and lockdown does not solve the problem.
Infosys founder Narayana Murthy said, Hunger may kill more people than COVID-19, if the lockdown is extended, according to Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy. India must accept the coronavirus as the new normal, Murthy said at a webinar on April 29, as quoted by The Economic Times.
Similarly, Arvind Kejriwal, CM, Delhi said, “Time to reopen Delhi, Ready to live with Coronavirus.”
Good sense is that the Government is taking all the necessary measures to combat the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus. Arogya Setu App has been mandatory for all the employees and employers need to monitor this.
Mind it, Indian IT industry has been a leading enabler of growth and has contributed significantly to the country’s export revenue and GDP over the last couple of decades. Hence, it is essential to ensure that end-users do not face any hindrance while availing these services. Taking all this into consideration, the IT sector is expected to start working from offices only in phases, with the initial focus on delivering mission critical projects that cannot be serviced from home due to various reasons.
“Enterprises are consistently supporting government’s initiatives to prevent the spread of the virus. As per recent reports, IT firms are ensuring that as many as 85% of their employees are working from home, even while servicing global clients,” Neelesh Kripalani, Senior Vice President and Head, Center of Excellence (CoE) at Clover Infotech.
“While there are multiple challenges to resume work from offices in a world affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, it is essential for businesses to continue to serve its customers. The key here is to enable work from home for maximum number of employees, wherever possible. This ensures that only the employees who must go to office for reasons such as for working on systems wherein remote access is not shared, or in cases where the client has not allowed work from home,” he added. “In fact, companies in IT are making certain changes such as restructuring workstations and cubicles to ensure that the distance between every employee is maintained as required. The floor managers and the administrative staff are also working with a set of guidelines such as ensuring hand-sanitizers wherever possible, keeping vigil on the floors and ensuring that there is no crowding at areas such as conference rooms, printers etc.”
However, the view of IT entrepreneurs does not resonate the mood of the nation. They are sharply divided on this. Manish R.Goenka, CEO & Founder, ICONS Infocom said, “Unfortunately, my more than 50% staff don’t have their own transport with public transport closed…it’s a mockery.”
Zakir Hussain Rangwala, Sales & Marketing Director, BD Soft said, “Mumbai without public transport is as good as closed.”
Dhirendra Khandelwal, MD, Esquare System & Technologies, said, “It’s good news but practically selling still a problem with limited mobility and sentiments are down at customer place.”
Ashok Kannan, President- IT, Sintex Industries, said, “We presume the rest 50% are working from home. This is a good start. We can recommend TCS model of 75-25 also. Hope there are no job losses and salary cuts. Appraisals and increments can be deferred.”
Jegadeeswaran B, DGM- IT, TVS Automobile Solutions Private Limited, said, “We at TVS Automobiles, working remotely considering the employees safety. To manage the essential services limited staffs are the fields by following safety measures. WFH will continue for IT and shared services and this may continue till we get it into normalcy. The economy is really gone down, and it is expected a year or more to stabilize especially for automobile market.”
Arvind Kumar, Head IT, Genisys Group is of opinion that it’s a good start, but keeping social distance, hygiene and proper safety standards to be taken into account.. and should be on rotation basis.
Yogendra Singh – Head-IT/SAP – Barista Coffee Company, said, “We are also following similar model by allowing work from home to the 100% Regional employee’s and 65% to corporate employees by segregation of 2 days in a week for every employee.so every department head will create Employee wise chart. By this way we can maintain social distancing and can save regional and corporate offices expenses.”
Yagnesh Upadhyay, Group Head IT, J.M.Baxi, said, “WFH is a cultural change. We have decided post lock down a few of IT Members will do WFH in shifts. Utmost priority to be given to employees without impacting on Business Continuity.”
Manish Pathak. Head IT & Automation Department at Sahara Hospital, said, “Healthcare is also running with 50 per cent workforce as we are managing remote support for software part and 50 per cent workforce for H/W support on premises. Not possible to run healthcare without IT H/W support on premises.”
Nikhil Kumar Nigam, Associate Director – Technologies at Amity University (Amity Education Group) said, “With situation seems horrifying and honestly expected to be even worse with no vaccine available, economy is at toss now. It’s the need of the hour to companies and employees take initiative to get back to normal working scenario with utmost precautions, safety and cleanliness. We should bring in lifestyle changes and contribute to corona warriors.”
Dr. Rizwan Ahmed, CTO, DelaPlex software said, “At DelaPlex, we are giving highest preference to our employees/associates safety. We have enforced Business Continuity Plan even before lockdown for our global workforce by employing best IT measures for enabling WFH and our 100% workforce is working remotely. We plan to continue WFH even post lock down until we see good clarity on all guidelines from authorities and ground situation with pandemic improves for resuming office work unless it is necessary for specific business requirements and priorities.
Sanjeev Jain, CIO, Integreon added, “I don’t think people will start working from office immediately. We are in the process of putting together plan, including finalising all safety measures for Employees and hope to start from mid of June.”
At the same time, Upkar Singh, Director IT, FIS Global advised that offices should start with only support team members who needs to be present in-person. The critical support members will continue from remote. Other staff will come to office only when some in-person support requires like hardware break-fix etc. Otherwise, WFH for project teams may continue till Jul end.”
The new normal is live with Coronavirus until there is permanent eradication. The show must go on with standard operating procedures and social distancing and the senior leadership of the organization will remain vigilant and cautious about the practice, since there is penalty in case of any violation.